>PoCUS assisted lumbar puncture

PoCUS assisted lumbar puncture

Resident Clinical Pearl (RCP) November 2019

Allyson Cornelis – PGY3 FMEM Dalhousie University, Saint John NB

Reviewed by Dr. Kavish Chandra

 

Lumbar punctures (LPs) are an essential emergency physician skill. Indications including assessing for serious causes of headaches such as meningitis and subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Various limitations to successful lumbar puncture include a large body habitus, arthritic spines, and altered spinal anatomy. Furthermore, this leads to increased procedural risks (failed attempts, pain, hematoma formation, infection and traumatic tap leading to difficult CSF interpretation)


Traditional lumbar puncture

The traditional way to perform a LP is using surface landmarks. The superior iliac crests are identified and a line is drawn across the back to connect them. This helps in identifying L3/L4 space. This is deemed a safe place for LP as the spinal cord ends above this.

 

PoCUS guided lumbar puncture

Ultrasound has become a common tool used in the emergency department for assessment of patients and to assist in certain procedures. Lumbar puncture is one procedure where ultrasound has potential to increase success.1,2

 

The evidence

Meta-analysis of PoCUS guided LPs in the ED with adult and pediatric patients showed improved success rates (NNT 11) and fewer traumatic taps (NNT 6), less pain and less time to obtaining a CSF sample.4

Similar studies in neonates and infants showed reduced LP failure and traumatic taps in the PoCUS guided LP group.5

 

The procedure

The goal of the LP is to place a needle into the subarachnoid space where the CSF can be sampled. At the safe level, LP needle moves in-between the caudal equina.

Adapted from Tintinalli’s Emergency Medicine : A Comprehensive Study Guide, 8th ed.

 

Landmark based LP (briefly)

Place the patient in the lateral decubitus or seated position, allowing them to curve their spine and open the space between adjacent spinous processes

Identify the superior iliac spines and connect a line between the two iliac spines across the back (this should intersect the L4 spinous process).

LP can be safely performed in the L3/4 or L4/5 interspaces. During the procedure, the needle is directed towards the patient’s umbilicus.

 

PoCUS guided LP2,3,6

Identify the midline

  • Position patient either sitting with a curved lumbar spine or laying down in a lateral decubitus position with back perfectly perpendicular to the table and not angled at all. Using either a linear or curvilinear probe (curvilinear is recommended for obese patients), in the transverse plane start at the sacrum which will appear as a bright white line.
  • Move the transducer towards the patient’s head while maintaining a transverse orientation. A space will appear followed by a smaller bright curved line with posterior shadowing, this is the L5 spinous process.

  • Center the spinous process in your screen, and mark the location with a surgical marking pen.

  • Continue moving the transverse transducer cephalad, you will see the interspaces (lack of spinous process and the accompanying shadow and possibly evidence of the articular processes which appear as bat ears).
  • Connect each mark identifying the spinous processes—this marks the midline of the spine

 

Identify the interspaces

  • Turn the transducer into the saggital plane with the indicator towards the patient’s feet (to line up the patient’s head with the view on the screen).

  • Place transducer along the spinal line you marked, starting at the top, and identify the spinous processes and the interspaces.
  • Place the interspace in the center of the transducer and mark with a line. Move caudally, identifying the remaining interspaces.

  • Connect these lines to your spinal line. Where they intersect are the ideal locations for needle entry.

 

The bottom line

Ultrasound is a tool being utilized more often in clinical practice, including in the emergency department. Research shows that its use in obtaining lumbar punctures has potential benefits, including more success in obtaining a CSF sample and less traumatic taps, with minimal harms or downsides to use of the ultrasound.

 

Copyedited by Kavish Chandra

 

Resources:

  1. Ladde JG. 2011. Central nervous system procedures and devices. In: Tintinalli JE, Stapczynski JS, Cline DM, Ma OJ, Cydula RK, Meckler GD, editors. Tintinalli’s emergency medicine: Acomprehensive study guide. 7th ed. China: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. p 1178-1180.
  2. Millington SJ, Restrepo MS, Koenig S. 2018. Better with ultrasound: Lumbar puncture. Chest 2018. 154(5): 1223-1229.
  3. Ladde JG. 2020. Central nervous system procedures and devices. In: Tintinalli JE, Ma O, Yealy DM, Meckler GD, Stapczynski J, Cline DM, Thomas SH, editors. Tintinalli’s emergency medicine: A comprehensive study guide. 9th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill: http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com.ezproxy.library.dal.ca/content.aspx?bookid=2353&sectionid=221017819. Accessed November 17,2019.
  4. Gottlieb M, Holladay D, Peksa GD. 2018. Ultrasound-assisted lumbar punctures: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Acad Emerg Med. 2019 Jan. 26(1). 85-96.
  5. Olowoyeye A, Fadahunsi O, Okudo J, Opaneye O, Okwundu C. 2019. Ultrasound imaging versus palpation method for diagnostic lumbar puncture in neonates and infants: A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Pediatrics Open. 2019 Mar. 3(1):e000412.
  6. Jarman B, Hoffman B, Al-Githami M, Hardin J, Skoromovsky E, Durham S, et al. Ultrasound and procedures. In: Atkinson P, Bowra J, Harris T, Jarman B, Lewis D, editors. Point of Care Ultrasound for Emergency Medicine and Resuscitation. 1st ed. United Kingdom: Oxford University press; 2019. p. 198-199.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email